set the world on fire

set the world on fire

Fig. to do exciting things that bring fame and glory. (Frequently with the negative.) I'm not very ambitious. I don't want to set the world on fire. You don't have to set the world on fire. Just do a good job.
See also: fire, on, set, world

set the world on fire

to be very exciting or successful The new video game format set the world on fire with huge sales at Christmas.
See also: fire, on, set, world

not set the world on fire

to not be very exciting or successful The restaurant offers a decent menu, but it wouldn't set the world on fire.
See also: fire, on, set, world

set the world on fire

Perform an outstanding feat and win fame, as in An ambitious man, he longed to set the world on fire with his inventions. This hyperbolic expression uses set on fire in the sense of "arouse excitement in." Also see set on fire, def. 2.
See also: fire, on, set, world
References in classic literature ?
A Pygmy, you know, though so very small, might set the world on fire, just as easily as a Giant could; so that this was certainly the very best way of dealing with their foe, provided they could have kept him quiet while the conflagration was going forward.